New Delhi: Welcoming the Supreme Court’s decision to allow 17 disqualified Congress-JDS MLAs to contest ensuing by-polls in the state, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday said the rebel MLAs will join the Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday. Also Read - Relief to Disqualified Karnataka MLAs; Can Contest Bypolls, Rules Supreme Court

He said the BJP will field candidates for all 17 seats of the state which are going for by-polls in December. Also Read - Karnataka: Supreme Court to Deliver Verdict on Pleas of 17 Disqualified MLAs Today

“I welcome the decision of the Supreme Court. Now, all 17 MLAs can contest the elections. Tomorrow onwards, we are going to allot tickets for all the assembly constituencies. We will contest on all the 17 seats,” Yediyurappa was quoted as saying by ANI.

Earlier in the day, he had said that his party will talk to the MLAs whether they are interested to join the saffron party and then accordingly it will be decided to whom the tickets shall be given.

On the other hand, Former PM and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda said that the end result is that MLAs are allowed to contest elections. “This way, Speaker’s orders are ultimately nullified. Rest all are just observations made by the SC.”

As per the EC notification, the elections for 15 out of 17 seats will be held on December 5. The poll body had withheld the elections for two seats — Maski and Rajarajeshwari — as the petitions against these Assembly constituencies are pending in the Karnataka High Court.

While announcing the judgment, the Supreme Court earlier in the day upheld the decision of the then Karnataka speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to disqualify 17 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law but said that they can contest the upcoming by-elections in the state.

The rebel legislators were disqualified by the then speaker in July under the anti-defection law after they tendered their resignation. They were also banned from contesting polls for the duration of the current assembly, which is slated to end in 2023.

The move had led to the falling of the Congress-JD (S) coalition government, paving way for BJP to stake claim to form a new government in the state.

(With inputs from ANI)